What’s The News?

Sometimes, just getting from one day to the next can seem like the hardest thing.

How can we make that easier, when the news agenda is constantly ringing alarm bells?

I made a list of 10 changes in behaviour that contribute to improved resilience, and the first action I thought of was to avoid bad news. I really don’t think that today’s 24hr rolling news culture is helping us – if anything, it just exacerbates and inflates our underlying anxieties, making us fearful, uncertain, draining our confidence.

The problem is, though, that we just can’t switch it off. Bad news comes at you non-stop, from the TV, from the radio, online. Right now, everyone’s talking about Brexit, every day the crisis seems to get deeper, and there’s seemingly no solution.

Given that this has to be part of our daily lives, how do we begin to manage this amount of uncertainty, and the never-ending negativity, in our heads?

Here’s my personal plan:

  1. Limit your exposure to the bad news bears – so, take in the TV bulletins and radio updates when you need and want to, but not 10 times a day. All things in moderation. Nobody’s forcing you to overdose.
  2. Seek out the positive element in the big story. Brexit may be a shock to the system, but what elements of it are interesting or encouraging? Is it Theresa May’s personal resilience, her doggedness in carrying her policy through to the bitter end? Or the calm exposition of the EU agenda, personified in Jean-Michel Barnier?
  3. See the funny side of the news – BBC Radio 4’s weekly broadcast The News Quiz and other topical comedy programmes can be a powerful antidote.
  4. Think ahead – imagine how the world will be in 50 or a 100 years, remind yourself this is just one brief phase in the wider historical context.
  5. Forget about it. Go for a good walk, switch off all devices, spend time with a child, or an animal. Enjoy nature. We weren’t born to be shackled to the global news, it shouldn’t obsess or preoccupy us unduly, we should live our short lives focused on happiness, love and simple wonder.

Are we in control of our lives and what goes on in our heads?

We can be. I’m kicking the news addiction, I’m burying the bad news, in favour of the simpler pleasures. I’m teaching myself mindfulness, living more in the moments of my life, not in the dramas of what they show on the TV news.

I’m smiling.

Have a great week everybody.

PS. This week, we say goodnight to Jeremy Hardy, much admired comedy star. Thank you for many years of intelligent, caring humour, and for making us see the funny side – Tom & Nic.